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Kinsey: PLBC opposes Senate Bill 421 for its negative impact on marginalized communities

Kenyatta district office grand opening

(Jan 14, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 14 – State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, D-Phila., will host a district office grand opening from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 18 at 1501 N. Broad St., Suite 17 . “My staff and I are excited to get to work for our neighbors,” Kenyatta said. “I invite all those in the district to come to our office to meet face to face with myself and the people who are working for them. I want open communication with my community. We could not be here without the support of our citizens, and now it’s finally time to give back. Let us know what we can do to serve you to the best of our ability.” Kenyatta encourages residents of Philadelphia’s 181st Legislative District to come to the event to meet his staff and to learn about the various constituent services offered. Light refreshments will be served. For more information, contact the district office at 215-978-0311 or visit www.pahouse.com/Kenyatta , which has links to information on state services and includes a form that enables residents to email him. Residents can also follow Kenyatta on Facebook www.Facebook.com/RepKenyatta and Twitter @RepKenyatta . Read more

 

Northwest Economic Empowerment Business Summit Jan. 19

(Jan 11, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 11 – State Rep. Isabella Fitzgerald will be joined by Reps. Stephen Kinsey and Chris Rabb, Sen. Art Haywood and Councilwoman Cherelle Parker to co-host an annual summit to help current and future business owners succeed and prosper. The 2 nd Annual Northwest Economic Empowerment Business Summit, organized by Fitzgerald, will be held from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19 at Masjidullah, the Center for Human Excellence, 7433 Limekiln Pike, 19138. The theme of this year’s summit is “Continuing the Journey.” Those attending the summit can take part in a variety of workshops and hear from expert panelists about starting a business or making an existing business thrive. “Business owners are a vital part of our community,” Fitzgerald said. “We want to provide constituents with the opportunities and resources to assist them, whether it’s starting their own business venture or growing their existing business.” Fitzgerald said there will be door prizes and continental breakfast and lunch will be served. Congressman Dwight Evans will be the keynote speaker. Representatives and their staff also will be available to answer questions and provide information on state government-related services. For more information and to RSVP, please call Fitzgerald’s office at 215-549-0220 or by email at repizzy@pahouse.net . Read more

 

Harris, Donatucci praise opening of Rowhouse Grocery in Point Breeze

(Jan 11, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 11 – State Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., joined state Rep. Maria Donatucci, D-Phila., in praising the opening of a new grocery store in the Point Breeze section of Philadelphia to help an underserved community access affordable, healthy food options. “The opening of this store is truly welcoming news. The city is overwhelmed with food deserts and for people who live in these areas, they may not have the means to travel to get access to fresh foods and produce,” Donatucci said. “I applaud Rowhouse Grocery for providing healthy options in this community.” “This grocery store comes in at a time when there’s more focus than ever before on healthy eating, yet many of our constituents simply don’t have access to the fresh fruits, vegetables and meats they need,” Harris said. “If the products aren’t accessible or affordable to the people we represent, then they simply don’t exist to them. I hope that Rowhouse Grocery gives an opportunity for people to explore meals that are nutritious, yet still affordable.” A food desert is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a location without easy access to fresh, health and affordable foods. People who live in food deserts tend to consume foods that are higher in cholesterol, sugar and fat. Rowhouse Grocery is located at 1713 McKean St. in the Point Breeze neighborhood of Philadelphia. Sections of Point Breeze are represented by Read more

 

Wednesday's moment in Black History

(Jan 09, 2019)

John Mercer Langston was the first black man to become a lawyer when he passed the bar in Ohio in 1854. When he was elected to the post of Town Clerk for Brownhelm, Ohio, in 1855 Langston became one of the first African Americans ever elected to public office in America. John Mercer Langston was also the great-uncle of Langston Hughes, famed poet of the Harlem Renaissance. Read more

 

New PLBC Leadership Takes Oath

(Jan 04, 2019)

The new leadership for the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus took their oath of office in Harrisburg. Now, they’re ready to get to work to tackle the issues that people of color, those people disenfranchised and those that have been marginalized in our society continue facing each and every day across Pennsylvania. Read more

 

PLBC statement on Mummer’s Parade

(Jan 03, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – Members of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus released the following statements after seeing reports of racist behavior at the Mummer’s Parade: “The issue we are seeing here is a history of controversial characters and portrayals,” said state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila, chairman of the PLBC. “The actions of those involved was intended as a form of comedy, but many viewers on the outside of the event believe it was in poor taste. We want to work on educating the public about how these actions can affect those around them, and how we might be able to better work for the future by working together on this parade as a whole community. The PLBC will continue our fight against acts of racism and fight for non-discriminatory legislation that updates the laws to help combat racism and racist behavior. Even if we cannot defeat it altogether, we should have better laws in place to discourage hateful practices and better educate the public.” “It doesn’t matter if it’s blackface or a black face, racial insensitivity has no place in Philadelphia,” said state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., former chairman of the PLBC and House Democratic Whip. “Sadly, this Parade has a tradition of racial insensitivity at best and racism at worst. It’s high time the sponsors and all others involved take a deliberate look at the messages being put forth by the parade. I look forward to joining other Read more

 

Harris sworn in for fourth term as state representative

(Jan 03, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – During a ceremony at the state Capitol to open the 203rd legislative session, state Rep. Jordan Harris, D-Phila., took the oath of office to begin his fourth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and first term as the Democratic whip. “I’m honored to have my constituents’ trust to remain their state representative for another two years,” Harris said. “I will continue to stand up for the voiceless and the powerless while expanding on the work that my staff and I accomplished for the 186 th Legislative District.” The 2019-20 legislative session also marks Harris’ first term as Democratic whip, a position his colleagues elected him to serve in November. He is the first African-American to serve as whip since Rep. K. Leroy Irvis in the 1970s. “Serving as the Democratic whip is an exciting opportunity to have a larger role in shaping the agenda of the House Democratic Caucus,” Harris said. “I’m honored with the trust my colleagues have placed in me and I look forward to moving forward with all Democrats with a better vision for Pennsylvania.” The whip is considered the second in command in the caucus and is responsible for making sure that Democratic members attend session and generally understand the specifics of legislation and procedural votes in the House. During his third term, Harris co-authored the Clean Slate bill, which became law and is the framework Read more

 

Cephas: Store closure devastating to local neighborhood

(Jan 03, 2019)

PHILADELPHIA, Jan. 3 – State Rep. Morgan Cephas, D-Phila., said she is disheartened over the community impact following the announcement of a grocery store closing due to the city’s soda tax . “It is disappointing to see the Shoprite store along Haverford Avenue closing its doors,” Cephas said. “Not only is it a hit to the local economy and a loss of jobs in the immediate area, it will add to the already overwhelming amount of food deserts in our Middle Neighborhoods. “While there are other stores in the immediate area where people can shop, the lack of access to fresh foods and produce in the community where this Shoprite exists could become a burden for those who may be unable to get to those stores. I will work with area stakeholders and residents to bring a grocery store to the soon-to-be vacant site in an effort to benefit the community’s overall needs. “With a new legislative session underway in Harrisburg, the general assembly must work together to provide adequate funding for our schools and infrastructure needs across the commonwealth, no matter the zip code. By fairly distributing sufficient appropriations for education and recreation centers, municipalities and cities, including Philadelphia, would not need to create alternative means of funding, such as a soda tax, which could ultimately have a devastating impact on businesses and our neighborhoods.” Read more

 

Lee sworn in to Pa. House of Representatives

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, made history today as she was sworn in as the first black woman to be elected to the state House from Western Pennsylvania. As she begins representing the 34 th Legislative District, Lee said she will call on her experience as a community organizer, activist, lawyer and advocate for social justice to accomplish her legislative priorities. For Lee, those priorities include greater economic justice for working families and reforms in the areas of education, health care, energy policy and criminal justice. “I’m so excited to roll up my sleeves and start working for meaningful change for residents in our district,” Lee said. “It’s time for a tax structure that benefits all Pennsylvanians – not just the wealthy. We need to level the playing field, and I plan to work to make that happen.” Another of Lee’s priorities is enacting a living wage – a move she sees as fundamental to giving hardworking families a fair chance to succeed. It’s also an important part of the House Democrats’ Plan for PA , which puts Pennsylvania’s working families first by focusing on good jobs, affordable health care, quality schools and an economy that ends corporate handouts and ensures that everyone pays their fair share. The 34 th Legislative District includes parts of Allegheny County, including parts of Pittsburgh, the township of Wilkins, and the boroughs Read more

 

Gainey sworn in for fourth term as state representative

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – Vowing to continue fighting for the interests of Pennsylvania’s working families, state Rep. Ed Gainey, D-Allegheny, was sworn into office today to serve his fourth term representing the 24th Legislative District. “I’m excited to start this new term, and like always, my inspiration comes from serving my district and the hardworking people who live here," Gainey said. “They rise to any challenge to support their families and give our children a rightful head start. They are who make our community what it is, and they deserve every opportunity the commonwealth has to offer. “A special priority of mine is gun violence. The tragic events that happened in our streets, churches, synagogues and schools should never happen. And at no time should a family have to bury a relative killed by senseless gun violence. I’m committed to sponsoring and supporting commonsense gun legislation.” Gainey noted that education is another top priority. “The greatest investment the state of Pennsylvania can make is in the education of our children. The data is clear that our children benefit when they can attend Pre-K and Head Start schools. We must continue to increase funding for Pre-K and Head Start, as well as advocate for universal Pre-K. The more prepared our children are, the better our future looks.” Gainey vowed to continue pursuing his other legislative priorities in the upcoming session. He said Read more

 

Youngblood sworn in for 13th term as state legislator

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Rosita C. Youngblood, D-Phila., was sworn in today to serve her 13 th term as state representative for the 198 th District. Additionally, she will continue her service as the Democratic Caucus secretary for the third term, helping to implement strategy and direction for House Democrats for the upcoming session. “I am honored to represent the people of the 198 th District and to continue advocating for meaningful change,” Youngblood said. “I will continue to push for legislation that puts people first and gives them the tools they need to succeed, from access to affordable health care, to a quality education in our Philadelphia schools and a fair economy for our future. It's all part of the Plan4PA .” Youngblood has served as the representative for the 198 th Legislative District since 1994. In that time, she has sponsored and co-sponsored legislation on mass transit funding, domestic violence prevention, and public welfare and health services, among others. Last session, she was a leader in the effort to increase penalties and enforcement against “stop-and-go” nuisance alcohol-selling businesses that are a burden on many Philadelphia neighborhoods. She also played a critical role in diaper needs awareness, introducing a host of measures aimed at helping families afford the cost of diapers. Youngblood is one of 91 House Democrats starting the 2019-20 legislative session, including 29 Read more

 

Dawkins takes oath of office for start of 2019-20 session

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins today was sworn in to office to represent the 179 th Legislative District during a ceremony that ushered in the 2019-20 legislative session at the Pennsylvania Capitol. “I am excited and honored to continue to serve my community and district as its state representative,” Dawkins said. “I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to continue our efforts to make Pennsylvania a safe place to live, work and raise a family, including efforts to reform our state’s criminal justice system, promote workforce development and further education opportunities for all.” Dawkins was re-elected to his third term in office Nov. 6. He was recently elected as chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation and is a member of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. Dawkins is a member of the PA SAFE Caucus, a group of legislators dedicated to reducing all types of violence in society through adequate mental health services funding, enforcing existing and creating stronger tools for law enforcement, and resources to deal with the effects of addiction and illegal drug trade, and solutions to reduce gun violence and promote public safety. The 179 th Legislative District stretches throughout lower northeast Philadelphia and comprises the neighborhoods of Frankford, Wissinoming, Mayfair, Olney and Oxford Circle. The district office telephone number is 215-744-7902. Read more

 

Kinsey sworn in for fourth term as state representative

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – During a ceremony at the state Capitol to open the 203rd legislative session, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey took the oath of office to begin his fourth term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “It’s an honor to be able to serve the people back home in the 201st district of Philadelphia,” Kinsey said. “I reaffirm my commitment to my community. I will push for more legislation to answer the needs of my district and their families, and bring awareness to the issues affecting us most.” During his third term, Kinsey secured state money to protect children from bullying and rid classrooms of dangerous toxins. He also helped to pass a law that offered a clean slate to those trying to turn their lives around. “As we head into the New Year, I plan to stand up to senseless gun violence, push for quality schools, rally to create jobs, and work to increase the minimum wage. We continue to make progress, but we cannot stop fighting to achieve our goals. Only by working together can we make the change that we want to see a reality,” Kinsey said. The 2019-20 legislative session marks Kinsey’s first term as chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, a position his colleagues elected him to serve in November. Kinsey said, “I’m proud to serve in this new capacity, and I will continue my fight to make sure no one feels left behind in the fight for equality, tolerance and Read more

 

Kenyatta sworn in as state representative for first term

(Jan 01, 2019)

HARRISBURG, Jan. 1 – In the presence of family and friends, state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta took the oath of office to begin his first term in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, where he will represent the 181st Legislative District . He was recently elected vice-chairman of the Philadelphia County Delegation. Kenyatta, a 28-year-old native of the north Philadelphia community that makes up part of his district, is a 2012 graduate of Temple University. He is the first openly LGBTQ person of color to be elected to the General Assembly. Before being elected, Kenyatta led the Diversity & Inclusion Initiatives for the Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia. He also worked in Graduate Medical Education at Hahnemann Hospital and food service for a number of years. In addition, Kenyatta served as the campaign manager for a Philadelphia City Council candidate and served on the board of Equality Pennsylvania. “I am proud to be a part of history and to represent the community where I was born, raised and received my degree. I’m forever grateful to my constituents for allowing me to be their voice in Harrisburg,” Kenyatta said. “Becoming a state representative is a victory for north Philadelphia and for anyone who feels left out or left behind. We need to deal with the moral and economic crisis of poverty, fully and fairly fund schools, raise the minimum wage and provide a better quality of life for all Pennsylvanians.” Read more

 

Kenyatta & Isaacson Helping Less Fortunate

(Dec 21, 2018)

Pa. state Reps.-elect Malcolm Kenyatta and Mary Isaacson helped wrap gifts for less fortunate families in their Philadelphia districts, along with the Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association. Kenyatta and Isaacson jointly represent the Northern Liberties community in Philadelphia. Read more

 

Philadelphia Delegation lauds passage of Federal First Step Act

(Dec 19, 2018)

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 19 – State Rep. Jason Dawkins, D-Phila., chairman of the Philadelphia Delegation in the House of Representatives, applauded the passage of “First Step Act,” which is designed to reform the criminal justice system and ease punitive prison sentences at the federal level. “The First Step Act will change criminal justice reform in the United States as we know it. Even though there is lot more to accomplish when it comes to criminal justice reform, this is definitely a step in the right direction,” Dawkins said. “This legislation was long overdue – for too long we have only been tough on crime. It is past time to take a step back and reevaluate what works better for our communities, our states and the nation. “I’m glad to see action on mandatory minimums. As we all know they drive up the cost of the system by imposing longer prison terms on more offenders, in many cases nonviolent offenders, and they provide little enhancement to public safety. “Pennsylvania took the lead on criminal justice reform in the nation, when we passed the Clean Slate legislation and we’re eager to see more change happen across the country.” The U.S Senate passed the “First Step Act” (87-12) last night. The House is expected to take up the Senate version of the bill at a later date. The House passed a similar version of the bill back in May by a wide margin, 360-59. Read more

 

McClinton makes history in House Democratic leadership elections

(Dec 13, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 13; State Rep. Joanna McClinton today was selected by her peers to serve as the chair of the House Democratic Caucus for the 2019-20 legislative session. Read more

 

Taking Clean Slate Nationwide as First Step

(Dec 03, 2018)

Host and KYW Newsradio community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg asks the burning questions about the First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill supported by President Donald Trump. Jordan Harris, Pa. State Rep- 186th Dist., Jules Epstein, law professor at Temple University and Sameerah Shabazz, policy director at Ardella's House walk us through the issues from a local perspective. Read more

 

Davidson makes history again as the first African-American woman elected Southeast Delegation's Chair with the new leadership team

(Nov 16, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 15 – The Southeast Delegation of the state House Democratic Caucus has elected the first African-American woman to chair the delegation, Rep. Margo Davidson, D-Delaware. Davidson is the second-most senior legislator in Delaware County. She was elected in 2010 as the first female, the first African-American and the first Democrat ever elected to represent her district. She is also the first Democratic woman ever elected from Delaware County in the history of the commonwealth. Davidson will continue to make history as chairwoman, leading the 33-member delegation which is the largest and fastest-growing delegation in the Democratic Caucus, including 16 women and five people of color. The delegation serves the people in the eight counties that make up the delegation: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery and York. Davidson and the delegation will be selecting vice chairpeople and other officials by the second session day in January 2019. Davidson said the recent election in which the delegation gained 14 new representatives showed that people in the Southeast want legislators who will fight for what matters most to them -- good jobs, affordable health care, a clean environment, quality schools and a fair economy for everyone. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on legislative initiatives that will improve the lives of all Pennsylvanians,” Davidson said. “Now is the time to fight for social Read more

 

Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus selects new leadership

(Nov 14, 2018)

HARRISBURG, Nov. 14 – Calling it a great opportunity to continue to be the voice for African-Americans and minorities across the commonwealth, state Rep. Stephen Kinsey, D-Phila., was elected Wednesday to serve as the chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus. “Being chosen by my colleagues to serve as the chairman of the PLBC is truly an honor. It is a tremendous responsibility that I will not take lightly,” Kinsey said. “It is the job of the PLBC to be a voice for African-Americans and people of color across Pennsylvania. As we have witnessed in recent years, minorities are facing injustice and discrimination more than ever, not only in the commonwealth but across our nation. I look forward to advancing the discussion to ensure African-Americans and people of color are equally respected and represented in Pennsylvania.” The PLBC leadership team is further made up of Rep. Donna Bullock, D-Phila., vice chairwoman; Rep. Carol Hill-Evans, D-York, secretary; and Rep.-elect Summer Lee, D-Allegheny, treasurer. “I am honored to be reelected as vice chairwoman of the PLBC and will continue working to create opportunities and reduce barriers for black Pennsylvanians,” Bullock said. “I will keep having tough conversations with my colleagues in the House to make sure that our communities are heard and that legislation and policies from Harrisburg are inclusive of all communities.” “I am extremely honored Read more